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The History of our Public Schools
Wyandotte County, Kansas

1844
2012

 

 

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Disclaimer / Copyright

Information and excerpts are taken from:
Rose and Peterson Architects
Historic and Architectural Survey - Phase 4
Kansas City, Kansas
Kansas City, Kansas City, Planning Division, 1994

Copy resides in the Kansas Room at the KCKs Public Library
625 Minnesota Avenue, KCKS
(913) 551-3280

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William Warren "Bill" RoseThis bio is not all inclusive.  You might want to take a moment to read additional information in the publication at the KCKs Public Library.

W W Rose

William Warren "Bill" Rose was born in Oyster Bay, Long Island, on March 12, 1864, the son of George B. and Charlotte N. (Warren) Rose.  He grew up in Ogdensburg, New York, and graduated from the Ogdensburg Academy in 1882.  Following graduation he went to New York City where he studied architecture in the office of G. A. Schellinger.  He then spent three years in the architectural offices of Charles T. Mott and J. C. Cady Company.

In December, 1886, Rose arrived in Kansas City, Missouri.  By 1889, the Roses were living at 1413 N 7th Street in Kansas City, Kansas and he had established an architectural partnership with James Oliver Hogg of Kansas City, Missouri, with offices in the Baird Building at 6th and Wyandotte.

Both Kansas Citys were booming in the late 1880s, and Rose was just one of a number of young eastern architects who arrived to take advantage of the expansion then occurring. Hogg, born in Madison, Wisconsin in 1859, had also come to Kansas City in 1886.  He was better educated than his younger partner, having studied under Professor M. C. Rickes in the architectural program at the University of Illinois, and then as an apprentice to the well-known Chicago architect S. S. Beman.

In 1890, Hogg and Rose were appointed architects for the Kansas City, Kansas Board of Education, replacing William F. Hackney.  Rose was reappointed in 1891, and with the exception of a possible hiatus about 1907 would hold this position for the next 37 years, until 1927 or '28.  The building boom ended in a Panic and depression of 1891, and the firm of Hogg and Rose dissolved in 1894.

In the spring of 1905, Rose was elected may of Kansas City, Kansas and his place as architect for the KCKs BOE was taken (temporarily)by J. W. Tate.  During his time as mayor, the "big joint war" occurred in Kansas City.   Rose refused to try to enforce the liquor law, saying that it would cost the City $100,000 a year and would be an exercise in futility.  He was nevertheless successful in achieving one of his major goals with city council approval of his plan for the establishment of a municipal water system on February 6, 1906.  Rose was defeated in 1907 by Dudley E. Cornell.

Prior to his term as mayor, Rose had designed two of the most prominent civic structures in KCKs, the high school completed in 1899, and the Carnegie Library completed in 1904.  Following his term of mayor, Rose's career as architect for the KCKs BOE resumed.

In 1906, David B. "Burt" Peterson had joined the firm as a draftsman and structural superintendent, Peterson, in December, 1909, was made a full partner and the firm renamed Rose and Peterson. Over the next 15 years the two partners would dominate much of the architectural scene in KCKs during the city's period of greatest growth, while establish a practice that was regional in nature.

D B Peterson

David Burton Peterson was born in Vandalia, West Virginia, on June 29, 1875.  He was of Swedish, Scots-Irish and German descent, growing up in West Virginia and near Triplett in rural Missouri, where his family settled on a farm in 1885. While still in his teens, he designed and built a home for his parents.  This accomplishment set the stage for the future.

Peterson moved to Kansas City in 1897, and for the first ten years of his residence was employed as a carpenter, rising from apprentice to superintendent of construction.  Peterson had a rapid rise in W. W. Rose's architectural and in just three years was made a full partner.  He had a limited formal education, although at some point in his career he did special architectural work with Professor Gabriel Ferrand, head of the architecture department at Washington University in St. Louis.  He became a registered architect in the state of Illinois, at a time when neither Kansas nor Missouri required registration.

Rose and Peterson's many notable designs included a substantial number of school projects, for both additions and new buildings, the result of Rose's position as official architect for the school board.  Many of these projects followed three successive bond issues, in 1910, 1914 and 1921, and were apparent response to the city's rapid growth. 

The buildings designed by Rose and Peterson seem somewhat more polished than those designed by Rose alone, but that may simply be a reflection of changing architectural style.  The schools designed prior to the partnership were often very eclectic in nature, with great variation in their external appearance, while those after 1909 show a conscious attempt to develop a more unified and coherent approach. 

Of particular note are the elementary schools of the 1920s.  Carefully proportioned and nicely detailed, these structures remain among the most attractive designs ever executed in Kansas City, Kansas. 

Arthur F. "Art" Hall - Arthur Hall was a building superintendent with the firm in the years leading up to World War I.  After the war, he was employed in a similar capacity by Smith, Rea and Lovitt before setting up his own architectural practice on the third floor of the Brotherhood Block.  In the mid 1920s, Hall's office also served as the KCKs branch office of his former employer, Charles A. Smith, Rose's counterpart as architect for the KCMO Board of Education, thus briefly placing the two prominent architects in close proximity.

Joseph W. Radotinsky - Joseph Radotinsky was employed by the firm as a part-time draftsman while still in school, and Peterson reportedly helped finance the would-be-architect's education at the University of Kansas, where Radotinsky graduated in 1924.  After a varied career that included several terms as State Architect, in the late 1930s Radotinsky became, like Rose before him, official architect for the KCKs BOE.  In this position he subsequently designed many additions and alterations to Rose and Peterson schools (not all of them sympathetic).

Much of the school work alluded to above began with the passage of a major bond issue in 1921.  Over the next four years, some 25 different school projects, for additions, alterations, and at least eleven new buildings, were completed by the firm.

In 1925, during the last stages of construction on the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building, while Peterson was out of town inspecting another job, a local subcontractor carried out the unscheduled installation of the terrazzo floor within the Memorial Hall portion of the building.  On Peterson's return, he personally drilled a core sample, found that the work did not meet specifications, and ordered the subcontractor to do the work over.

The next day, the City's purchasing agent, a gentleman named George T. Darby, showed up at Rose and Peterson's office.  He placed a blank check on Peterson's desk, and suggested that he forget the whole thing.  Peterson literally threw the man out of the office, and was told in turn that he would never get another job in Kansas City, Kansas.  As Darby was prominent in the then-dominant Republican Party, he may well have had the political clout to see that his threat was carried out, particularly once Don McCombs began his twenty-year reign as mayor in 1927.  The threat became even more of a certainty in 1931, when Darby was elected finance commissioner, a position he would hold for over ten years.

Many of the buildings designed by W. W. Rose remained in active use in 1934.  The principal losses were the Kansas City, Kansas High School, destroyed on March 3, 1934, in one of the most spectacular fires in the city's history; Stowe Elementary School, cleared to provide park space for an adjoining public housing project; and the wonderfully ornate Carnegie Library, demolished by the Board of Education for a parking lot in 1965.  W. W. Rose did not live to see these losses.  He died in his home on Saturday, May 23, 1931, at the age of 67, and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.

When Peterson returned from Europe in 1925, his office was located in his home at 818 Minnesota Avenue.  Future public commissions would be barred to him, but he inherited two school projects from his former firm:  the addition of a gymnasium to Central Junior High School and a new high school in Rosedale.  The Rosedale High School (now sadly altered) pointed toward Peterson's eventual adoption of the Art Deco style, with massing and angular elements that may have been suggested by the well-publicized school designs of Chicago architect Barry Byrne.  Following the school projects was the completion of the Kansas City, Kansas TMCA.

In 1927 Peterson joined with Harry F. Almon to form the firm of Peterson and Almon, located at the Huron Building.  Most of the firms work was of a business or institutional nature and much of it was outside KCKs.  Most notable perhaps were the designs for Turner Elementary School and Washington High School, both begun in 1931.  Here Art Deco ornamentation was used for the first time on public buildings in Wyandotte County.

Peterson had very much wanted to be considered for the design of the new Wyandotte High School (1934-37), but local public commissions were apparently still beyond his grasp.  He died on November 2, 1937 and is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery in Kansas City, KS.

[Annotation:  Information from Mr. Larry Hancks of the Urban Planning and Land Use, Wyandotte County, is that there is many times a misconception that Joseph W. Radotinsky was the architect for Wyandotte High School.  However, the architectural firm was one out of Chicago and Mr. Radotinsky was the local architect, as stated on the plaque on the Wall inside of Wyandotte High School.  We are sincerely appreciated of the information put together and shared by the K C Planning & Zoning for history involving the building of the schools.  See the link below for Architectural Analysis of the Public School Buildings by Rose and Peterson.]

ARCHITECTURAL ANALYSIS - PUBLIC SCHOOL BUILDINGS BY ROSE AND PETERSON
1890-1927

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History Site created on December 02, 2002
Page last updated: 23-Apr-2014

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